The Providence City Council will tonight consider first passage of an ordinance that establishes a permanent Equal Pay Task Force to promote equal pay for equal work in the City of Providence. The seven-member panel would study best practices from other municipalities, collect and analyze data from City departments and contractors, and advise the City Council and Mayor on policy and legislation recommendations that address wage disparities.
“As elected officials, we must ensure that the City of Providence and its vendors are treating employees equally and compensating them fairly,” said Councilman David Salvatore (Ward 14), who introduced and sponsored the ordinance. “The wage gap in America is unacceptable, and government at every level must be proactive and intentional in promoting equal pay for equal work.”
According to the Economic Policy Institute’s State of Working America Data Library, women who worked full-time and year-round in 2016 earned 20% less than their male counterparts. Salvatore is hopeful that Providence will become a leader in closing that gap: “The City of Providence should model the highest standards of wage equality. The Equal Pay Task Force will study what’s working in other cities across the country and guide us toward best practices.”
The ordinance requires a seven-member task force comprised of the Chair and Vice Chair of the Providence Human Relations Commission, an attorney from the City Solicitor’s office, two members appointed by the City Council, and two members appointed by the Mayor. The panel would be required to annually submit a report of its activities, findings, and recommendations to the Providence Human Relations Commission, City Council, and Mayor. The first report would be due by December 31, 2017.
The ordinance has been vetted by the Council’s Ordinance Committee and will appear before the full City Council at tonight’s meeting. All city ordinances require two passages from the City Council prior to becoming law.